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Early Canadian History

Have your parents or grandparents ever told you the story of how your family first moved to Canada? People who come to Canada from another country are called immigrants. Everyone in Canada, except for Aboriginals, comes from an immigrant family.   


Aboriginals were the first people to live in Canada. They were not all alike. Aboriginals spoke many different languages and lived all over Canada. They survived through hunting, agriculture, and by trading with other Aboriginal communities. Then, in the 1500s (more than 400 years ago) Europeans began to visit Canada. At first they were just interested in Canada's abundant resources of furs, fish, and lumber. Soon they developed permanent communities and began to populate Canada. These were Canada's first immigrants.


The two largest European immigrant groups were the English and the French. Other settlers came from countries like Spain, Portugal, Holland, and Russia. These diverse origins explain why Canada is known as a nation of immigrants. Chances are that your family was once an immigrant family. Ask your parents to tell you your family's immigration story.


Each group had its own language and customs. With all these different people trying to live together, there was often confusion and conflict. Throughout Canada 's history, large and powerful groups have not always treated small groups fairly. Groups with strong differences have had a hard time understanding each other.   


Canada today is a mixture of many different nations, languages, and religions. Each group of people has contributed in a unique way to Canadian history and its way of life. Even though there were many different groups, the English settlers had the most power. That influenced the shape of Canadian life.

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